Thursday, July 13, 2017

Badger City/Marinette, Wisconsin & Menominee, Michigan

Today we arrived in St. Ignace, Michigan.  Tomorrow we will ride the ferry to Mackinac Island.  This is something I've looked forward to and planned for years.  And now I almost don't want to go.  Did you ever finally get to do something you've dreamed of for ages, and you built it up so much in your mind, that when you finally did it, it was not quite what you'd imagined, and then you feel kind of let down?  Yeah, that.  That's what I'm afraid of.

Plus, once we've gone there, I won't have that to look forward to any more.  I know that sounds silly, especially since there so many other things I have to look forward to.  But I've always acknowledged that more than half the fun of travel for me is the planning.

Okay, this is all just too too trivial.  Talk about first world problems!

But, anyway, as much as I enjoy planning, you know what I really love?  Finding out that a place I expected to just be a boring stopover to rest and do chores is actually so much more than I anticipated.

And that was the case at our last stop at Badger City Park in Peshtigo, Wisconsin.  First, the park itself was so much more than we expected.  It's beautiful.  Situated right between a pretty lake and an enchanted forest.  Well, it looked enchanted to me.

My "Enchanted" Forest
Just a few steps from our fifth wheel.

There was also a free concert at the park on Wednesday evening.
The band was pretty good.  They played a lot of 60's pop songs.
Tim walked over to where they were playing.
But I could hear them just fine while sitting inside the 5er.

Peshtigo was a lumber town back in the 1800's.  The lumber mill did a huge business.  Shipped lumber all over the country.  All of the homes and buildings in the town were built of wood. And the sidewalks. The streets were even made of sawdust.  It was practical.  All those horses didn't wear diapers, ya know?

In 1871, there was a terrible drought.  And the inevitable happened.  Somehow a fire started.  In about an hour an a half, the city burned completely to the ground.  A few people survived by jumping into the Peshtigo River, but over 1200 people died in that fire.  It remains the largest fire disaster in the country, even after all these years.

So why have you never heard about it?  Because on that same tragic night, the Chicago fire also took place.  There were actually four fires around Lake Michigan that night.  

We learned all of this at the Peshtigo Fire Museum.  The people there are quite proud of their fire.  Or, maybe rather, they are proud of the resilience and perseverence of their ancestors who rebuilt the town after the fire.  Reminded me of the people who rebuilt Galveston after the hurricane of 1900.

This is a mural in the museum, depicting the tragic fire.

The museum also contains many artifacts from after the town was rebuilt.

A wood and coal burning stove.


 A wedding dress worn in 1901.

Dugout canoes used by Native Americans.

A tin bathtub.

We enjoyed talking to the lady volunteer in the museum that day.  But she was concerned  that the museum might eventually close because the younger generation didn't seem interested in the town's dramatic history.  That would be sad.  We've been to several museums that were run by enthusiastic young adults.  I hope Peshtigo will be able find some young ones to carry the touch.  Oh.  Umm, bad choice of words.  I should just say "to carry on."

So, the park was great, the museum was interesting.

But wait, there's more!

Peshtigo is about 20 miles away from Marinette, a little town right on Lake Michigan.  And Marinette is right next to Menominee, Michigan.  It's really like one city, but in two states.  We drove there yesterday to see the lake.  It is the cutest little town.  

We stopped at a little city park, right on the lake.

Blue water, blue sky, white sailboats. Heaven.

Lovely old building right across the street from the lake.

Chiropractor building right on the lake, next door to the park.
We met the chiropractor's wife and chatted a few minutes.  She and her husband live on the second floor of that building.  Right on Lake Michigan!  She agreed that she is blessed, indeed!  

About a mile down the street sat this light house.  Or, I guess this would actually be a light beacon.  Because it's not really a house.  I didn't know there was a difference until today.
But still, isn't it pretty?

As beautiful, and fun and interesting as all of these things were, my favorite thing about this stopover was the people we met and talked to.  Everyone was so friendly!

There was the nice (and very talkative) man who ran the RV Park.

There was the lady at the museum, who is so proud of her town.

There was the chiropractor's wife in Menominee.  

And the man who owned the laundromat where we did our clothes.  He also owns a fifth wheel trailer.  He told us all about his recent trip, and asked Tim a lot of questions about our pickup.

And the lady who cut my hair.  Her name is Glenda.  We chatted about books, and Jesus, and different denominations (she's Catholic), and Texas (she's been to San Antonio), and life in general.  It was almost like being with my friends back home.  

(But not quite.  I miss you all so much!)

I see skies of blue and 
clouds of white.
The bright, blessed day
the dark, sacred night.
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good...  Genesis 1:31

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